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Doctors may think skin cancer is a rash

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2020 | Misdiagnosis |

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and, in some cases, one of the easiest ones to cure. Unfortunately, it’s also possible for it to get misdiagnosed as something far less serious, such as a rash.

One man said he thought he had a pimple at first. It was a dark color, but he ignored it. It then turned into a small red spot and he went to see his doctor. The doctor thought it was a rash and told him to just use some over-the-counter cream on it. That didn’t help, so he went back, and another doctor just doubled down on the wrong diagnosis and told him to use a stronger cream.

The man then saw a dermatologist. That specialist thought it was a rash as well, or that he was allergic to his shampoo. No one told him that it could be a life-threatening disease.

“They both agreed it was nothing to worry about,” the man reported in an interview for the Washington Post. “It wasn’t painful, just annoying.”

As it turned out, he didn’t have a rash at all. He had cancer. He had been delaying treatment using anti-fungal cream on skin cancer, and predictably having no impact.

What is really frightening about this story isn’t that one person made a mistake, but that he talked to two doctors and a specialist, and they all missed it. How much earlier could he have begun treating his cancer if they just knew what it was?

It’s important for people who suffer negative consequences to their health due to a misdiagnosis to know what legal options they have.